Certain Songs #885: The La’s – “There She Goes”

Album: The La’s
Year: 1990

In these dark dark days, any kind of reassurance that the world isn’t as terrible as it sometimes seems to be is in order, and so I have one for you, gentle readers: on YouTube, the La’s perfect-pop version of “There She Goes” has more views than Sixpence None The Richer’s snoozefest of a remake.

As of this writing (about a week before you’re seeing it), The La’s version has 2,448,995 views and SNTR’s version have 1,416,827. It’s even more pronounced on Spotify: 26,961,361 to 14,535,429. This is important, because here in the colonies, the original La’s version stalled out on the Billboard charts at 49 while the SNTR version made it all the way to 14 on the Billboard charts.

This was, of course, because in just about any incarnation, “There She Goes” sports a timeless melody that’s nearly impossible to get out of your head, but at some point in the past two decades, the culture has figured out that the circular guitars that dominate the La’s version turn it into one of the greatest power-pop songs ever.

Right? Those guitar hooks. There are three moments where the guitar hooks are like the drugs that people sometimes assume this song is about. And yeah: the first thing you here is a 12-string Rickenbacker guitar chiming like it’s being played by St. Peter. St. Peter Buck, that is, come back down from heaven to save your soul with a heavenly pop hit, joined by St. Roger Mc Guinn.

And with the drums never leaving the backbeat while the saints play their guitars mad pop genius Lee Mavers sings the first chorus of this song without any verse.

There she goes
There she goes again
Racing thru’ my brain
And I just can’t contain
This feelin’ that remains

Then, after the second repetition of that chorus, instead of a guitar solo, here comes another guitar part, ever so slightly different from what was there before, and yet enough that it’s impossible to hear without at least some of your earthly burdens lifted.

Then, just for a moment, the guitar hooks go away and there are clouds on the horizon, because you wanted all of that omnipresent beauty to last forever, but it never feels like a punishment, more like a reminder of the fleeting nature of beauty in any form, and just when you realize that, the guitars slowly come back.

There she goes, there she goes again
She calls my name, pulls my train
No-one else could heal my pain
And I just can’t contain
This feelin’ that remains

But there’s one last guitar hook that comes in, sliding in from the horizon, just for a couple of bars, as if to remind us that beauty can also be infinite if you know where to look for it, and at that point, “There She Goes” starts circling around itself, with all of the angels singing “there she goes” “she calls my name” “there she goes again” in a round robin that doesn’t seem to have any kind of beginning or ending but — for an infinite moment — feels like it’s always existed and always will exist.

But of course, it’s a 2:30 pop song, and as such, has to end in order to achieve perfection, because the only way we can try to begin to understand such a perfect object as “There She Goes” is to be able to experience it fully. And so “There She Goes” ends in the only way it could possibly end: with a sigh. And I do the only thing I possibly can do: start it over in the vain hope that I can ever get even close to the bottom of it.

But I know I never will.

“There She Goes”

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2 Responses to “Certain Songs #885: The La’s – “There She Goes””

  1. Ira Brooker says:

    I never even knew the Sixpence None the Richer version was a cover. That version stands as one of my most hated songs of the 1990s, which makes it all the more amazing for me to find that I really, really dig the original.

    I’ll say it again: you’re one of the finest things about our nightmare internet world.